On Friday, a largely white and Hispanic jury failed to convince Jonathan Aledda, a white, Hispanic police officer from North Miami, to have shot a black behavior therapist, Charles Kinsey.
It did not matter if Kinsey lay on the floor. It was not important that he had his hands up. The jurors even mocked that Kinsey begged the police not to fire and that a commander had told them not to fire. They blocked three counts and acquitted one of them.
The decision is sure to divide us. It is even more certain to send a message to whites and police that they can shoot blacks without fear of punishment.
All of this happened because the jury system is rigged against African Americans. In this trial and in most others, blacks are underrepresented.
As Ashish S. Joshi and Christina T. Kline wrote on the website of the American Bar Association in 2015, jury pools and juries are extremely white. Joshi and Kline quote a federal judge who said, "Unless you are totally blind, a judge can not help but realize that when 100 people appear in court to be chosen by a jury, there are one or two people, if any, visible minorities. "
This is also a problem because many Whites and Hispanics who are part of juries are racist. I'm not saying that every non-black person in Miami is like that. But I say that most are.
Jonathan Aledda was guilty and got out of it. The same thing happened after the murder of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman in 2012. This has the effect of giving justice a bad image and ensuring that all non-black people in Miami-Dade County have look worse.
In 1989, when Miami police officer William Lozano shot and killed a black man named Clement Lloyd, there were riots. It will not happen this time, but the reaction will be just as violent – on social media. And maybe that's good. The people who run our government listen to social media. And sometimes they change the laws.
In the future, no judge should allow a trial to continue if the jury does not represent the demographics of the community. If you bring together a group of jurors with too few or no blacks, you will get the wrong verdict. And that will cause more unnecessary deaths and further separate the community.